New Delhi, Aug 15: Wrestler Vinesh Phogat said on Tuesday that she will not compete at the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou due to a knee injury and will undergo surgery on Thursday (August 17) in Mumbai.
With Vinesh's departure, the path is now open for Antim Panghal to join the squad. The U-20 world champion, who had emerged victorious in the selection trials and was named as a reserve player, will now represent India in the women's 53kg category.
"I wanted to share an extremely sad piece of news. A couple of days ago on August 13, I injured my left knee in training. After doing the scans and examinations, the doctor said that unfortunately, surgery is the only option for me to recover.
"I will be undergoing surgery on August 17 in Mumbai. It was my dream to retain my Asian Games Gold medal for India which I won in 2018 at Jakarta. But unfortunately, this injury has ruled out my participation now. I have informed concerned authorities immediately so that the Reserve player can be sent to the Asian Games," she said in a statement posted on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
A former medallist at the World Championships and a prominent figure in the wrestlers' protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Vinesh was initially granted a direct entry into the continental event by an ad-hoc panel.
However, this decision sparked significant controversy, with numerous young wrestlers highlighting that this approach was not appropriate.